Christian Pond Loop
|Trail Features:||Scenic Views, Wildlife, Wildflowers|
|Trail Location:||Jackson Lake Lodge|
|Roundtrip Length:||3.6 Miles|
|Trailhead Elevation:||6864 Feet|
|Total Elevation Gain:||250 Feet|
|Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:||139 Feet|
|Highest Elevation:||6973 Feet|
|Trail Difficulty Rating:||4.10 (easy)|
|Parking Lot Latitude||43.87814|
|Parking Lot Longitude||-110.57258|
The Christian Pond Loop hike begins from the Jackson Lake Lodge area, located one mile north of Jackson Lake Junction. After turning into the lodge area, drive another two-tenths of a mile and turn left towards the gas services and corrals. The trailhead is located near the corral area.
Shortly after leaving the parking area hikers will travel under the Teton Park Road overpass. Throughout this section, as well as the first leg of the loop, you'll also be sharing the path with horses from the concessionaire at Jackson Lake Lodge.
At just over one-tenth of a mile you'll arrive at the junction where the actual loop portion of the hike begins. The most direct route to Christian Pond itself is towards the right. For purposes of this hike description we will follow this hike in a counter-clockwise direction.
Less than a half-mile from the trailhead hikers will reach a small rise above Christian Pond. Overall this is a nice pond, but nothing exceptional. You may see a few ducks, such as American wigeons or common mergansers, or maybe even a trumpeter swan, swimming in the shallow grassy waters. Upon reaching the pond the trail continues towards the south where it climbs to a higher point above the water. The highest point on the hill provides the best view of the pond, as well as the mountains towards the north.
From the top of the hill the trail continues heading southbound, and at roughly three-quarters of a mile from the trailhead you'll reach a split in the trail. The path to the right leads to the Oxbow Bend Overlook. To continue on the loop hikers should veer to the left and begin heading towards Emma Matilda Lake.
As the trail circles around the southern end of the loop it climbs another small rise. By occasionally looking back towards the west you'll catch some decent views of the Grand Tetons.
Much of the loop passes through sagebrush meadows, which means you'll be out in the open and exposed to the sun for much of your hike. The open terrain also offers opportunities for spotting a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, coyotes and even bears.
At 1.25 miles hikers will arrive at the Emma Matilda Lake Trail junction. This trail veers off towards the right and circles around Emma Matilda Lake. However, it reaches its southern shore in only three-tenths of a mile, and in less than a half-mile will visit Lookout Rock, a rock outcropping that offers spectacular views of the western end of the lake. To continue on the loop hike you should turn left at this junction.
This next segment of the loop passes through sagebrush meadows that offer a few glimpses of the Grand Tetons towards the west. It is also serves as the western segment of the loop hike around Emma Matilda Lake.
At 2.2 miles you'll arrive at the northern leg of the Emma Matilda Lake Trail. From this junction hikers will have the option of visiting Grand View Point. This perch, roughly 1.7 miles from this junction, offers outstanding views of the entire Teton Range. To continue back towards Jackson Lake Lodge hikers should turn left here.
From the junction you'll have a pretty good view of Mt. Moran and the northern Teton Range. Just beyond the junction the trail begins descending, and soon you'll have a great view of Grand Teton.
As you continue to descend the trail begins passing through a series of grassy meadows, and at just over 2.6 miles, you'll pass another side trail that leads to Grand View Point. To continue back towards the trailhead, hikers should turn left at this junction.
At 3.5 miles hikers will reach the end of the loop portion of the hike. Simply retrace your steps to return back to the trailhead.
Overall the Christian Pond Loop is a pleasant hike with some pretty good views, but nothing extraordinary. The loop offers hikers the chance to travel through a couple different life zones within the Jackson Hole area. Hikers will also have some pretty good opportunities for spotting wildlife, especially in the mornings or later in the evening. If you're visiting in May or June this is a great hike for spotting a variety of wildflowers as well.